English Premiership

Balotelli in line for return

2014-12-12 18:35
Mario Balotelli (Supplied)
Mario Balotelli (Supplied)

London - Mario Balotelli could return for Liverpool at Manchester United this weekend having returned to training after missing a month with a thigh injury, manager Brendan Rodgers said on Friday.

The Italian, who has yet to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool since arriving from AC Milan in the close season, has not figured since the Merseysiders' 2-1 defeat by Chelsea on Nov. 8.

"He's only just back into training, so it's something we'll assess," Rodgers told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash.

"We've still got a bit of time, so we'll see what his fitness is like. He's been out for a little while now, but in the last couple of days he's looked good in training.

"We'll give him every chance to see if he can come into the squad."

Balotelli has shown only glimpses of his talent since moving to Liverpool and his style of play has seemed ill-suited to the high-tempo pressing game that Rodgers has tried to instil.

In Balotelli's absence, Liverpool's league form has remained inconsistent.

His return to the side, however, is likely to be welcomed by fans who witnessed a dire a 0-0 stalemate against Sunderland last weekend followed by a tepid 1-1 draw with Basel in the Champions League.

Centre back Kolo Toure could also return for the game at Old Trafford having missed the Basel clash while Rodgers said midfielder Adam Lallana broke ribs in a recent 3-1 win over Leicester City but would be fit to face United.

Rodgers has faced increased speculation from British media that his job is under threat but said he remained in close contact with the club's owners about how they needed to move forward.

"I am more determined to succeed here. We almost unexpectedly won the title (last year), and now the team has gone through a change," he said.

Liverpool are ninth in the Premier League, 15 points behind leaders Chelsea and seven adrift of United, who are chasing a sixth successive win, in third.


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